timezone icon TimeZone (UTC)
Collaboration in the Fight Against Fentanyl - Archival
This webinar identified partnerships and innovative efforts in the whole of government approach to identify and interdict fentanyl analogs, as well as to heighten awareness and strengthen legal mechanisms for dealing with the illicit fentanyl crisis.
Original Live Webinar took place on 12/13/2017.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl’s intrusion into drug markets in the United States is significantly contributing to an opioid epidemic that is claiming thousands of lives each year.  Illicit fentanyl and its analogs are imported predominantly from China, with Mexico and Canada serving as trans-shipment points.  Fentanyl is illegally ordered via the dark web and the open internet and is delivered by private express shippers or the United States Postal Service to businesses and residences across the U.S.   

This presentation reviewed the prevalence, modes of importation, and availability of fentanyl in the U.S. illicit market based on de-identified drug seizure and post-mortem findings and unclassified law enforcement data.  Challenges to identification of fentanyl in the law enforcement and medicolegal death investigation communities will be discussed, as will federal legal standards relating to fentanyl identifications and prosecutions.  Using and sharing information on new fentanyl analogs, whether obtained through federal, state, local, or private testing of seized drugs and postmortem toxicology is essential to get a baseline understanding of the scope of the problem and the identification of new fentanyl analogs and novel psychoactive substances

The presentation primarily focused on innovative collaborations between public health, public safety, and private industry partners that have arisen based on shared recognition of the importance of timely and accurate identification of the evolving designer fentanyls.  The Department of Justice’s recognition of the need for innovative and aggressive work to promote interdiction efforts will be highlighted as supported by OCDETF, including establishing a pilot project for rapid and sophisticated seized drug testing, identifying ways and means to support the MDI / forensic pathology and toxicology community, and to sharing information relating to identification of the novel fentanyl analogs. 

The presentation discussed the methodology of scheduling fentanyl analogs by core structure as has been done in various states, other countries, and is under consideration by the U.S. government. 

Learning Objectives:

1.        Educate the participant on whole of government approach being deployed in the fight against fentanyl importation.

2.       Explain the importance in timely and accurate data in seized drug identification and testing, and in medicolegal death investigation post-mortem toxicological testing, and discuss how building information sharing platforms could link the two vital information components.

3.       Elucidate innovative partnerships and procedures being used in the fight against fentanyl analogs. 

This webinar was recorded in its entirety at the time of the Live event in order to capture the one on one interaction with the presenter.  Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.


M.J. Menendez & Victor Weedn
M.J. Menendez - Assistant United States Attorney with the Department of Justice. Based out of Colorado, M.J. is currently on assignment to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) in Washington, D.C. 

Victor Weedn - Forensic Pathologist, Attorney, and Professor in the George Washington University Department of Forensic Sciences with a professorial lecturer in the GW Law School.